GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2022

Republican anger, progressive concern combine in push to ban political spending by utilities

BY: and - January 17, 2022

Legislative proposals to curb Virginia utilities’ political contributions may be gaining new traction in Richmond as old resentments over a 2015 utility rate freeze law combine with progressive Democrats’ skepticism of utility influence and Republican anger over Dominion Energy’s contributions to a shadowy PAC attacking Gov. Glenn Youngkin during the 2021 elections. Del. Lee Ware, […]

Why a Republican legislator wants to make it easier for ex-offenders to vote

BY: - January 17, 2022

Mike Cherry says it’s his religious faith, and the Republican Party’s distant history of expanding voting rights to African Americans and women, that led him to sponsor legislation many wouldn’t expect to see from the modern-day GOP. A Richmond-area pastor just sworn into office, Cherry’s first legislative package includes a top priority for voting-rights groups: […]

Virginia lawmakers propose decriminalizing psychedelic mushrooms

BY: - January 14, 2022

Three Virginia lawmakers have introduced legislation that would end felony penalties for possession of psychedelic mushrooms, citing the drug’s growing acceptance in medicinal contexts. “It is increasingly a recognized treatment for refractory depression and PTSD,” said Del. Dawn Adams, D-Richmond, a nurse practitioner whose legislation would also decriminalize peyote, a cactus that contains the psychedelic […]

Virginia legislators reintroduce bill to penalize ‘cyber flashing’

BY: - January 13, 2022

A bipartisan group of women legislators are again pushing for a state law against unwanted nude images sent by text and over computer screens. In a Thursday news conference, Del. Kelly Convirs-Fowler, D-Virginia Beach, announced she was bringing back a bill that would penalize sexually explicit pictures sent to anyone without their request or consent. […]

General Assembly Republicans go maskless as omicron surges

BY: - January 13, 2022

It was easy to tell the difference between Democrats and Republicans at the start of Virginia’s 2022 General Assembly session. Just look at who was wearing a mask. Not a single House Republican donned a face covering Wednesday as lawmakers reconvened in Richmond among record-breaking COVID-19 numbers. Republican senators also largely went maskless, while Democrats […]

Party leaders talk ‘kitchen table’ priorities as divided government returns to General Assembly

BY: - January 12, 2022

Divided government returned to Richmond Wednesday as the 2022 General Assembly session began with House Republicans and Senate Democrats laying out different visions for what they want to do over the next 60 days. Assuming power after winning back a GOP majority in last year’s elections, new House Speaker Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, touched on many […]

Virginia lawmakers still at odds over resentencing for people in prison on marijuana charges

BY: - January 12, 2022

Nearly a year after Virginia lawmakers voted to legalize possession of marijuana, they remain divided on what — if anything — to do about people currently imprisoned on marijuana charges. The committee of House and Senate lawmakers tasked with making recommendations for the legislative session that begins Wednesday concluded its work this week with a […]

Virginia officials weigh precision vs. speed in reporting election results

BY: - January 10, 2022

Virginia is moving closer to joining the dozens of other states that track absentee votes down to the neighborhood level, a change that would give researchers, news outlets and campaigns better insight into local election data and voting trends. But some officials have warned that, if implemented the wrong way, it could mean slower results […]

For Virginia’s new House majority, masks and vaccines will be optional during session

BY: - January 7, 2022

As Virginia lawmakers prepare to reconvene in Richmond for the 2022 General Assembly session, a looming question has been how the process will run amid an ongoing COVID-19 surge. For Republicans in the House of Delegates, who won control of the chamber in November’s elections, the answer is as close to business as usual as […]

Virginia can’t undo Equal Rights Amendment approval, outgoing AG says

BY: - January 7, 2022

Departing Attorney General Mark Herring says Virginia can’t undo its 2020 ratification of the federal Equal Rights Amendment, the stalled gender-equality measure that inspired a major activist push at the statehouse. It’s unclear how eager Republicans might be to reverse the Virginia General Assembly’s vote, because the amendment still hasn’t been recognized at the federal […]

COMMENTARY
A storm passes over the Capitol. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury - Sept. 11, 2018)

The window is there to return to bi-partisan compromise in 2022. Just don’t hold your breath.

BY: - December 29, 2021

The year 2021 was only six days old when it tipped its hand to the sort of politically riven year it would be. Thousands of violent apostles of defeated President Donald Trump tried (and failed) to end nearly 250 years of American democracy by commandeering Congress’s constitutional duty to count the nation’s electoral votes that […]

Northam presents final budget, flush with cash, to lawmakers

BY: and - December 16, 2021

Gov. Ralph Northam presented legislative budget writers Thursday with his final fiscal blueprint for Virginia government that proposes tax cuts, state employee pay raises, stoking the state’s reserve savings and strengthening the public retirement fund.  Robust tax collections augmented by federal pandemic economic relief funds created unprecedented operational surpluses, even during the  social and financial […]